NEWSMAKERS of 2012
A lesser-known doctor at the Police General Hospital, Pol Col Dr Supat Laohawattana, became a well-known suspected murderer as the mysteries at his pineapple orchard in Phetchaburi province gradually unfolded.
Doctor-turned-murder suspect Supat Laohawattana shocked the public after police implicated him in the disappearance of a couple when searches at his Phetchaburi orchard found three human skeletons and a cache of weapons. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
Dr Supat was initially arrested for his alleged connection with the disappearance of Samart Noomjui and his wife, Orasa Kerdsap, who were reported missing in June 2009.
The couple vanished along with their Toyota pickup truck while employed at Dr Supat's orchard in Tha Yang district.
When the couple's parents filed a complaint with police, little came out of the investigation at first.
Then three years later, the couple's family received help from Suthep Laohawattana, the doctor's elder brother. He told them the couple's missing truck was at the doctor's house in Nonthaburi's Muang district.
Mr Suthep was embroiled in an inheritance conflict with his brother, the suspect.
After questioning witnesses, police came to suspect the couple's bodies were buried in the pineapple orchard. The police started digging up the site, but did not find what they were looking for.
But the deeper the police dug into the orchard, the more disturbing the story became.
Three human skeletons were found buried in the orchard's compound, two of them with bullet holes in the skulls. One of the skeletons turned out to belong to a Myanmar worker named Ita.
DNA tests of the other two proved they were not the missing couple the police originally set out to find.
Myanmar workers employed at the orchard portrayed Dr Supat as cruel and violent.
A search conducted at Dr Supat's house and orchard turned up 42 guns and 5,442 rounds of ammunition. His ''stockpile'' disturbed investigators.
Dr Supat has been charged with human trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.
On Monday, the police also submitted a report to the prosecution seeking indictment of Dr Supat for the premeditated murder of Ita, the Myanmar worker.
And recently his two sons, Ake and Akara, were charged with colluding in the murder of the missing couple. Both were released on bail after turning up to acknowledge the charge.
Now dismissed from the police force over the criminal charges, Dr Supat, 57, is being detained at Phetchaburi provincial prison. He is also the subject of a probe ordered by the Police General Hospital.
About the author
- Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham